The uniting purpose shared across zip codes and political party lines in Illinois is the overwhelming belief that public education plays a defining role in ensuring equal opportunity. Though there is much more work to be done, these accomplishments, due to the dogged support of school administrators, board members, principals, and business officials, should be recognized. Collaboratively, Vision 20/20 accomplished the following state action to fulfill the promise of public education.

Highly Effective Educators

Licensure Reciprocity

Public Act 99-58: Designed to streamline the licensure process for teachers and administrators and establish reciprocity with other states in order to increase the pool of qualified candidates for positions in Illinois.

Recruit Teachers into the Profession

By amending the Educator Licensure Article of the School Code, Public Act 100-0596 makes changes to provisions concerning the licensure powers of the State Board of Education, the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (including adding two members), types of licenses (including removing and adding certain endorsements on an educator license with stipulations), endorsements on PELs, educator testing, the minimum requirements for educators trained in other states or countries, application fees, license renewal, the Alternative Educator Licensure Program for Teachers, alternative route to superintendent endorsement programs, and the approval of educator preparation institutions.

21st Century Learning

Link Students to College & Careers

The Postsecondary Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act (Public Act 99-674), signed into law in 2016, takes a student based and competency-based approach to helping students achieve college and career readiness.

Invest in Early Childhood Education

The FY 2019 funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant is on the right path to support the greatest number of children who may otherwise not have access to high-quality early learning opportunities. The additional $100,000 funds mean that about 5,000 more children will receive services in FY 2019 than did in FY 2018. ISBE estimates that more than 97,000 children will be served statewide in FY 2019, with approximately 72,000 of those children living in areas with high need.

Expand Equity in Technology Access

Introduced HB 5750 which appropriates $16.3 million from the School Infrastructure Fund to the State Board of Education for school district broadband expansion. Although this was vetoed by the Governor, Vision 20/20 still considers the support of this legislation through the General Assembly a victory and will work to support this legislation again in the future.

Shared Accountability

Implement a Balanced Accountability System

Public Act 99-193 makes changes concerning references to adequate yearly progress with respect to the State Board of Education’s recognition standards for student performance and school improvement, the State Board’s system of rewards for school districts and schools, the State Board’s system to acknowledge schools, State interventions, and remote educational programs. Removes provisions concerning academic early warning and watch status. Instead, requires the State Board to establish a Multiple Measure Index and Annual Measurable Objectives for each public school in this State that address the school’s overall performance in terms of academic success and equity and sets forth provisions concerning priority and focus districts.

Expand Educators Role in State Government

Public Act 100-1135 amends the school code to require that three of the members of the State Board of Education must represent the educator community. The law sets forth the qualifications for these members and makes other changes with regard to the qualifications of members of the State Board.

Equitable & Adequate Funding

Fund Education Based on Local Need

On August 31, 2017, the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, or Public Act 100-0465 became law. Five previous grant programs are combined into a single grant program and distributed as evidence-based funding. Those grant programs are General State Aid, Special Education – Personnel, Special Education – Funding for Children Requiring Special Education Services, Special Education – Summer School and English Learner Education. In this new system, districts receive the same receipts from each of those five programs again in FY 2018 as a hold harmless provision. An additional $650million dollars have been invested in education as a result of this legislation, being directed toward those districts farthest from adequacy.

District Flexibility & Fiscal Efficiency

The Districts of Innovation proposal (HB 4902) would allow school districts in Illinois to become Districts of Innovation. These districts would be encouraged to develop new instructional and administrative practices or alternatives to existing ones with the intention of improving student learning and performance. Although this bill did not get through committee, Vision 20/20 will continue to pursue this initiative.

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